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Author Topic: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity  (Read 7538 times)

SteelRaven

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #60 on: 21 December 2021, 13:27:04 »
BattleTech:  The beer and pretzels game for mathletes  ;D
I'm actually terrible at math but many in the community do try to make this game accountant tech (why I have a friend that won't touch the game inspite loving the BTU via the computer games. First game turned into a a debate over numbers)
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Colt Ward

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #61 on: 21 December 2021, 13:45:47 »
There's actually a pretty good spread in actual play that says most of that 'sweeping across the inner sphere' was handwaved in as plot armoring, and not results you'd actually get with the forces described without it. (except in cases where numbers were nearly even or the defenders actually had genuinely inferior-even for the inner sphere, machines in roughly equal numbers.)

I have played those recently in MM on 128x96 or 96x96 hex maps- 12th Star Guards BN (no light mechs) with armor support (2 companies) against a supernova binary.  The Clans win though most of the Elementals end up as mission kills (never rolled for their survival or suit recovery) and even when the IS breaks, they cannot escape in the most part.  A few stragglers may get away, particularly something like a Wasp/Stinger/Phoenix Hawk which is faster than the 5/8 Clan standard, that flees into broken terrain where LOS can be blocked.  While that was a meeting/open field engagement, by fluff they also wrecked a prepared blocking position/ambush and I am getting that fight prep'd- I can finally start making the maps again.
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Nicoli

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #62 on: 21 December 2021, 17:50:57 »
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Hellraiser

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #63 on: 21 December 2021, 18:45:36 »
Let me start by saying I've probably forgotten more than I still know about the game and the history of some of the choices made, getting old has it's downsides. So forgive me if my memory takes us in a weird direction.

That said, even back in the early 90's when I created the pre-cursor to Battle Value, Combat Efficiency Factor the issue of quantity over quality was an issue. I remember a line, I think from TRO3025, about an Atlas facing a swarm of Locust and retiring from battle with "light damage". 
IIRC, I think it was actually "A Battalion of Stingers".
But I too am showing my age so I could be wrong.  :thumbsup:



Quote
That was the intent of the Force Multiplier rules, to try and balance out the idea of swarm attacks and also to shift a little focus back to the BattleMech. At the time, the BattleMech was still supposed to be the primary focus of the game and undisputed champion. 
I don't dispute that.
Just the way I've seen it talk of being "implemented" in practice.
I've never seen a game where everyone showed up with a random # of units that totaled some equal BV & THEN at the FLGS the side w/ the Lower #s got to change their skills till it equaled the FSM calculated figure.

I didn't have "too" much of a problem w/ the FSM, math..... just the way some claimed to use it.
To me its something you use "ahead of time" to figure out how much of an edge to give to a smaller force.  (Like the Binary v Company mentioned above)
The GM sets up the forces w/ a slight edge to the Binary which helps pay for those "Clan Skills".



Quote
The idea of setting guidelines like "Just Mechs" or "5-7 units" has some merit. 
The guidelines he uses has worked for us for the 20 years I've been playing with my local commando. 
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theagent

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #64 on: 21 December 2021, 23:02:36 »
Just to throw some fun numbers into the mix, I was working through Campaign Operations, & decided to take a look at the cost of creating a unit.  I wanted to see what the differences would be for a House to create a new Regiment from scratch, but what kind of "peacetime" investment they have to do to maintain the unit.

I didn't bother with trying to determine how much DropShip/JumpShip support a unit would need to travel around.  My assumption is that these comparisons would be from the perspective of adding another Regiment to a pre-existing entity that already has multiple regiments (in the case of the Great Houses & even the major Periphery factions, hundreds of regiments when you include the various planetary garrisons), so unless the House decides to add a ton of new regiments at once they can probably ignore the need to increase their DropShip/JumpShip fleets for the time being.

Fair warning, there are a lot of WAGs (Wild-A$$ Guesses) in the calculations I made.  Some of them aren't so much "guesses" as simply recognizing that there is a range of applicable values for a particular category.  For example, the monthly spare parts needed for BattleMechs is calculated at 0.1% of the 'Mech's tonnage... so a 20-ton Locust needs a lot less spare parts than a 100-ton "Steiner Scout 'Mech" (aka Atlas).  Some of them, however, are completely dependent upon the particular model of 'Mech selected for the unit -- for example, you need to account for training ammo usage for an STG-3R Stinger (thanks to its ton of MG ammo), but the STG-3G variant doesn't need to pay for ammo usage (since it has no ammo-dependent weapons).  For ammo, I assumed on average that each Lance was equipped with 4-16 tons of ammo among all 4 units (the heavier the lance, the more ammo they carried), which works out to an average of 1-4 tons per 'Mech.  I also assumed it was all LRM ammo, both because 30,000 is a lot easier to multiply in your head than, say, 27,000, & it gives a nice upper boundary (the only ammo more expensive is LB 20-X cluster ammo).  Also, fuel usage can get very expensive very quickly -- from the rules in CO, only ICE-equipped tanks, ASFs, & Jump/Motorized Infantry (or Mechanized, but I wasn't going to try to figure them out) need to account for it...but the fuel usage for an ICE-equipped tank is a lot cheaper than the hydrogen fuel used by ASFs.

Some of my findings weren't too surprising.  The cheapest BattleMech Regiment acquisition cost (324 Million C-Bills for 108 Light 'Mechs -- & I do mean that every 'Mech is a Light 'Mech, not "Every Lance is a Light Lance, but some of those Light Lances have Mediums or Heavies in them") is enough for you to purchase 2 Assault-class and 2 Light-class Armor Regiments (54-216 Million C-Bills) -- with a mixed force, that probably means at least 3 Armor Regiments -- or 2 Light ASF Regiments (again, with every single ASF massing 20 tons each), but you could acquire 6 Jump Infantry Regiments or 10 Foot Infantry Regiments for the same cost.  Also, once the average skill rating of your Regiment goes above Regular, the salaries you're paying become a bigger component of the monthly cost.  I also didn't try to skimp on personnel either:  all tech teams were fully staffed by full-time techs & astechs (rather than trying to depend on any of the pilots to provide routine maintenance on their own units), & all admin positions were staffed by full-time admins (again, the combat troops focus on the combat, the REMFs focus on the rear).  I also didn't bother trying to account for XL or Light Fusion engines (those really drive up the acquisition costs in the ruleset, as well as the spare parts costs), & assumed Introductory 3025/3028 tech so I didn't have to throw yet another multiplier into the mix.

But the surprising things were how close (at least for the most part) the monthly maintenance costs were, regardless of the actual type of regiment.  And how, especially for the 'Mech & ASF units, payroll is a much bigger factor for light units than it is for heavy units (roughly 40% of the monthly cost for a Light Regiment, but the same payroll figure was only about 14% of the monthly cost for an Assault Regiment).  Assuming just Regular forces, I ended up with:
  • BattleMech Regiment:  ~1.4 to 3.9 Million C-Bills per month (~560,000 C-Bills for payroll)
  • Armor Regiment: ~1.3 to 4.5 Million C-Bills per month (~500,000 to 1.1 Million C-Bills for payroll)
  • ASF Regiment: ~10.5 to 17.6 Million C-Bills per month (~270,000 C-Bills was payroll...but 9.7 to 16.2 million C-Bills of the cost was for the hydrogen fuel, depending on whether the average ASF in the regiment has 3 tons of fuel or 5 tons of fuel)
  • Infantry Regiment:  ~1.8 to 3.7 Million C-Bills (~480,000 to 640,000 C-Bills for payroll); shave about 100,000 off for Jump Infantry (despite having 25% fewer personnel, their equipment is more expensive), & add another 100,000 roughly for Motorized Infantry

Granted, those are the peacetime estimates.  Actual combat will mean you're fixing battle damage or replacing destroyed machines/personnel instead of just replacing spare parts, just like combat missions will burn a lot more fuel for ASFs, & expend a lot more ammo.  Upgrading the unit to Veteran or Elite status really drove up the cost of maintaining the Armor & Infantry Regiments (costs about as much to maintain a Veteran Armor Regiment as it does to maintain an Elite 'Mech Regiment, & at Elite status there's almost no difference in maintenance costs between a 'Mech Regiment & a Motorized Infantry Regiment).

But it also explains why the Great Houses & Periphery nations depend heavily on Armor & Infantry Regiments for their planetary garrison forces.  The maintenance costs may be roughly the same, but the acquisition costs is where they're set apart...and as we've seen all too often in the Battletech lore, there have been a ton of 'Mech Regiments over the centuries that have been essentially hammered down to nothing & took years to build back up to their former size (if they ever managed it).  That's because buying 'Mechs is expensive.  Drafting warm bodies to carry rifles & ride around in trucks & APCs ends up being relatively cheap.

DevianID

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #65 on: 22 December 2021, 02:13:56 »
interesting numbers theagent.
So to extrapolate, if you have x number of cbills and a 5 year plan, armor/infantry are better than mechs as you get 4x the units, and 4x the maintenance in 5 years isn't high enough sway that.
If you have x cbills and a 20+ year plan, the 4x maintenance cost for 4 armor/infantry regiments versus 1 mech is 206 million, versus 54.6 million.  So a long term garrison starts trending towards mechs, while meatgrinder assault armies start trending towards vehicles/infantry.  For a 5 year offensive campaign, trading lives with high attrition tanks and infantry keeps payroll low, while a mech unit with much lower pilot attrition will have a higher payroll cost as they are probably elite after such a campaign. 

Thus elite mech pilots are further cheaper/easier to train, and since elite mechs can fight many times their number of armor and infantry, once you hit a certain economy of scale the acquisition cost for ELITE mech units is much cheaper than ELITE armor/infantry, despite the cost of green/regular mech units being 4x higher.

So the Jade Falcons blooding their mech pilots makes economic sense to train up warrior quality quickly despite the horrendous mech losses, but Hells horses cant do that with their vehicle crews due to attrition and much higher crew costs.

idea weenie

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #66 on: 22 December 2021, 08:02:30 »
  • ASF Regiment: ~10.5 to 17.6 Million C-Bills per month (~270,000 C-Bills was payroll...but 9.7 to 16.2 million C-Bills of the cost was for the hydrogen fuel, depending on whether the average ASF in the regiment has 3 tons of fuel or 5 tons of fuel)

One thing to note in the Campaign Operations book is that depending on the mission/location, your fuel costs could be zero.  Here are a few quotes about getting replacement Hydrogen fuel from my copy of Campaign Operations (2016-2021 copyright, corrected Second printing).  Pages are listed to provide direct access (if you have the same version as me), while the path from chapter to location is provided in case your version is different and need to trace along.

p28, Force Creation chapter -> Stage 4 (Determine Operating Expenses) -> Step 2 (calculate peacetime operating costs) -> 1st paragraph in the example:
". . . and over 130 tons of fuel (though admittedly, a lot of that he can supply given a pond or river near the Force’s base)."

p41: Force Operations chapter -> Hiring and Campaigns -> Stage 4: Negotiate Terms -> Base Payment, 3rd paragraph:
"This occurs in garrison and cadre contracts where the Force is able to generate its own hydrogen, as hydrogen fuel costs are not considered in the peacetime operating cost for contract purposes."

p202: Maintenance, Repair, Salvage, & Customization chapter -> Repair & Replacement -> Obtaining Replacement Parts -> Fuel (Optional), 1st paragraph:
"Hydrogen fuel can be produced by any unit with a fission, fusion or solar power plant at no cost if it is not undergoing repair or modification, at a rate of 10 tons per Maintenance/Repair Cycle unless local conditions (such as lack of water) eliminate this option."

Col Toda

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #67 on: 22 December 2021, 09:45:14 »
For me it's about the odds and good enough .  My unit is expensive in mechs because I do not believe in using light mech period regardless of ERA . Like using combat vehicles vehicles for recon and flank spotting or TAG  .  On average if you have 3 cheap TAG  units generally  one will hit an intended target. 

Units start cheap in the Succession War . Get very expensive during the Clan Invasion Era to the Jihad ERA and get relatively less expensive during the Dark Age as mix tech happens right out of the factory and old units that switch to Clan tech ballistics or Missiles generally save enough tonnage to switch from an expensive XL engine to a Light Fusion engine .

Combined Arms is the new normal in every ERA  now . I did a 3025 unit with 1 Company of mechs , 1 company combat vehicles , 1 company of infantry and 1 AC/2 field gun platoon with 3 nice support vehicles  all in an obsolete Triumph with somewhat reconfigured bays and better  Armament.  I attacked with mechs and 2 lances of light vehicles  nothing slower than 5/8 so I could effectively  do recon and objective raids . Speed tends to permit me to have more force at the point of contact even if I do not have greater numbers . I also like having 2 units with smoke SRM6 which can lay down  14 hexs and block LOS vs part of the opposition force so the effective numbers at the point of contact might be reduced . The 2 lances of light vehicles  largest purpose is to bring up my numbers while diminishing the effective enemy numbers at the point of contact where possible .
« Last Edit: 01 January 2022, 23:08:23 by Col Toda »

theagent

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #68 on: 05 January 2022, 00:41:34 »
One thing to note in the Campaign Operations book is that depending on the mission/location, your fuel costs could be zero.  Here are a few quotes about getting replacement Hydrogen fuel from my copy of Campaign Operations (2016-2021 copyright, corrected Second printing).  Pages are listed to provide direct access (if you have the same version as me), while the path from chapter to location is provided in case your version is different and need to trace along.

p28, Force Creation chapter -> Stage 4 (Determine Operating Expenses) -> Step 2 (calculate peacetime operating costs) -> 1st paragraph in the example:
". . . and over 130 tons of fuel (though admittedly, a lot of that he can supply given a pond or river near the Force’s base)."

p41: Force Operations chapter -> Hiring and Campaigns -> Stage 4: Negotiate Terms -> Base Payment, 3rd paragraph:
"This occurs in garrison and cadre contracts where the Force is able to generate its own hydrogen, as hydrogen fuel costs are not considered in the peacetime operating cost for contract purposes."

p202: Maintenance, Repair, Salvage, & Customization chapter -> Repair & Replacement -> Obtaining Replacement Parts -> Fuel (Optional), 1st paragraph:
"Hydrogen fuel can be produced by any unit with a fission, fusion or solar power plant at no cost if it is not undergoing repair or modification, at a rate of 10 tons per Maintenance/Repair Cycle unless local conditions (such as lack of water) eliminate this option."

True, but I didn't want to have to depend on having that for contracts.  Also, I was looking at it from the perspective of House units as well as merc units, & House units might be more dependent on civilian contractors/providers that aren't willing to provide them H2 for free, so I figured just leave the amounts at default.

interesting numbers theagent.
So to extrapolate, if you have x number of cbills and a 5 year plan, armor/infantry are better than mechs as you get 4x the units, and 4x the maintenance in 5 years isn't high enough sway that.
If you have x cbills and a 20+ year plan, the 4x maintenance cost for 4 armor/infantry regiments versus 1 mech is 206 million, versus 54.6 million.  So a long term garrison starts trending towards mechs, while meatgrinder assault armies start trending towards vehicles/infantry.  For a 5 year offensive campaign, trading lives with high attrition tanks and infantry keeps payroll low, while a mech unit with much lower pilot attrition will have a higher payroll cost as they are probably elite after such a campaign. 

Thus elite mech pilots are further cheaper/easier to train, and since elite mechs can fight many times their number of armor and infantry, once you hit a certain economy of scale the acquisition cost for ELITE mech units is much cheaper than ELITE armor/infantry, despite the cost of green/regular mech units being 4x higher.

So the Jade Falcons blooding their mech pilots makes economic sense to train up warrior quality quickly despite the horrendous mech losses, but Hells horses cant do that with their vehicle crews due to attrition and much higher crew costs.

It's a tough call on that.  Obviously, there are other factors to consider as well -- such as the types of missions you're expecting the units to perform.  For example, if your aim is pure defense, you probably want to focus on armor forces with some infantry support, & maybe some ASF units to prevent DropShips from landing; if you want a purely offensive force, you're going to focus on 'Mech units with ASF support, & maybe a small armor/infantry contingent to provide security for your forces (either in the field or at their bases); true combined-arms would be if your force has to cover both offensive & defensive missions fairly quickly.  Also, if you have a low population pool, even with conscription & press-ganging you're going to run out of warm bodies to throw into the grinder...not to mention dipping too much into your civilian labor pool is going to grind factory & goods production to a halt.

But yeah, you're right on the money.  Nicky's plan for "Clan Life" let them focus their more limited resources where it could do the most good (along with making their infantry less squishy with Toads).  Also, it's actually smart of the Horses to allow their failed Mechwarriors & ASF Pilots to have a 2nd trial to become armor crewmen; although I'm not sure if there's a canon rule in the books about it, I believe it probably means that instead of the standard rule for Clan armor crews (i.e. Regular Clan Mechwarriors are P4/G3 instead of P5/G4, but Regular Clan armor crews are P6/G5), CHH armor crews are more skilled (i.e. Regular CHH armor crew is probably still P5/G4 like their Inner Sphere counterparts, but might even qualify for the boost to be considered P4/G3 on a GM's call).  That helps take some of the sting of their failed trials & means they're not just sticking them into solhama units.

The whole maintenance cost issue is probably also why House planetary garrison forces (standard is, IIRC, 1 Armor Battalion & 1 Infantry Regiment minimum, with some larger planets having at least 1 Armor Regiment & 3 Infantry Regiments) also tend to be rated Green:  the lower pay multiplier helps offset the larger amount of personnel they have.

I didn't bother trying to factor in DropShip & JumpShip support, though.  Aside from there being too many DropShip designs out there in to pick from, I was mainly looking at it from the perspective of a) a merc unit that hires a 3rd-party for off-planet transport, or b) a single planetary government not worried about moving its forces off-planet.

phoenixalpha

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #69 on: 05 January 2022, 03:32:00 »
But yeah, you're right on the money.  Nicky's plan for "Clan Life" let them focus their more limited resources where it could do the most good (along with making their infantry less squishy with Toads).  Also, it's actually smart of the Horses to allow their failed Mechwarriors & ASF Pilots to have a 2nd trial to become armor crewmen; although I'm not sure if there's a canon rule in the books about it, I believe it probably means that instead of the standard rule for Clan armor crews (i.e. Regular Clan Mechwarriors are P4/G3 instead of P5/G4, but Regular Clan armor crews are P6/G5), CHH armor crews are more skilled (i.e. Regular CHH armor crew is probably still P5/G4 like their Inner Sphere counterparts, but might even qualify for the boost to be considered P4/G3 on a GM's call).  That helps take some of the sting of their failed trials & means they're not just sticking them into solhama units.
/quote]

I would say that Clan armour forces would be less skilled than Inner Sphere counterparts. I imagine that sibko training focuses on mechs and mech piloting & gunnery where the prize is passing their first Trial of Position into a mech unit. Whereas IS academies will be focusing on armoured vehicle P/G for their armour cadets with almost zero focus on mech skills.

Colt Ward

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #70 on: 05 January 2022, 10:58:13 »
I would say that Clan armour forces would be less skilled than Inner Sphere counterparts. I imagine that sibko training focuses on mechs and mech piloting & gunnery where the prize is passing their first Trial of Position into a mech unit. Whereas IS academies will be focusing on armoured vehicle P/G for their armour cadets with almost zero focus on mech skills.

Which is what he said, most the Clan armor is considered green by IS standards- and Elementals do not get the skill bonus as is usually assumed.  HOWEVER . . . his point was the armor Clan- Hell's Horses- likely have more skilled armor crews as a case can be made for that though it would be at the GM's discretion.  IMO, the Bears and Spirits would also have regular skills rather than the typically poor Clan crew skills- the Bears b/c their retests and inclusion, the Spirits b/c they never de-emphasized the vehicle since they follow Nick's dictated structure.  Bears and Horses would also IMO get a skill bonus on their Elementals.  Just like, IMO, the Cobra's and Raven's as Aero Clans would have VTOLs crews more skilled than their ground vehicle components.
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Cannonshop

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #71 on: 07 January 2022, 09:59:26 »
Which is what he said, most the Clan armor is considered green by IS standards- and Elementals do not get the skill bonus as is usually assumed.  HOWEVER . . . his point was the armor Clan- Hell's Horses- likely have more skilled armor crews as a case can be made for that though it would be at the GM's discretion.  IMO, the Bears and Spirits would also have regular skills rather than the typically poor Clan crew skills- the Bears b/c their retests and inclusion, the Spirits b/c they never de-emphasized the vehicle since they follow Nick's dictated structure.  Bears and Horses would also IMO get a skill bonus on their Elementals.  Just like, IMO, the Cobra's and Raven's as Aero Clans would have VTOLs crews more skilled than their ground vehicle components.

That sounds reasonable to me-doctrine does influence training, and training influences skill-base.
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Hellraiser

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #72 on: 07 January 2022, 19:45:48 »
Interesting, Some thoughts.   A bit of Devil's Advocate here.

1.  Do the Spirits have Actual Vee-Crew Sibkos?     Or.   Are they using failed Mechwarriors/Pilots just like every other clan.

2.  Does ANY clan actually have "Basic Training" for Vee-Crews or is it all just failed Pilots/Warriors?

3.  Same questions for Leg Infantry?

4.  I thought somewhere that the reason clan Vees (And Grunts) are worse than the IS is not actually because they don't favor those unit types anymore, its because ALL of them are just getting OJT  (On the Job Training).   Essentially, they just get sent to the unit & their squadmates that have been there longer teach them the ropes.

5.  If #1-4 are correct, and I think I read it somewhere, then that explains the Lower Skills across the board for the Clans in those units.
But, if that is the case for all clans, then it might actually be that the Spirits/Horses are actually LESS skilled crews than the other clans even in those areas.
Why?   Because they have to fill out more units of them.  If the Spirits have a Trinary for every cluster while the Wolves just have the rare couple Binaries attached to Garrisons & reserve units.  Then the competition for those lower # of slots would be higher.  The "Wolves" or any NON-Spirit/Horse clan would only be looking to fill out a smaller # of vehicle slots & as such can be more restrictive in who gets to keep their "warrior" role, even if a failed, back up, stuck in a tank, washed out of training, sort of "warrior" role.

6.  Not that the "Wolves" are better than the Spirits.  Just that if the Spirits need to fill 2000 slots & the "Wolves" need to fill 500.  Then the Wolf crews would be equal to the best 25% of the Spirit crews, while the remaining crews would be lower skills the further down the quality list you go.  In the end the Spirits would bring more #s to the fight than the Wolves.   Basically its like the IS v/s Clan skills issue only its clan v clan.   Those that field the largest #s have the largest spread on the skill spectrum.  Those that restrict the #s to a smaller # get to pick the very best of the best.  Only in the case of clan vees, its those that manage to learn quickly & not suck at the job.
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Fallen_Raven

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #73 on: 07 January 2022, 20:18:56 »
If I might use a bit of metaphor here, its a bit like building a navy. You might be able to outfit 250 PT boats for the cost of a single battleship, but they'll be annihilated the second they come in contact with naval guns. At that point you have created a massive loss of personnel and equipment to achieve nothing. You could also build a single super battleship that costs as much as two normal battleships and shapes your entire strategy around defending it from enemy attacks, because there's only one drydock on the planet that can fix it.

Quantity vs Quality is not a linear graph, and the asymptotes are full of bad ideas.
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DevianID

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #74 on: 08 January 2022, 05:11:31 »
My buddy and I have a joke that any navy should invest in rpg-launcher equipped fishing boats in any "point based" system as cruisers would operate at a deficit shooting ordinance to kill the oncoming fishing boat swarm, and such systems (btech included) often ignore any human cost.  He refuses to play that game of Harpoon with me.

phoenixalpha

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #75 on: 08 January 2022, 06:58:00 »
My buddy and I have a joke that any navy should invest in rpg-launcher equipped fishing boats in any "point based" system as cruisers would operate at a deficit shooting ordinance to kill the oncoming fishing boat swarm, and such systems (btech included) often ignore any human cost.  He refuses to play that game of Harpoon with me.


From a macro-command level or on an economic level - it does make sense. Human lives are cheap and can be replenished readily (both in the real world and the BTU). If there is a 10,000 in one chance that a RPG launcher boat can take down a cruiser then having 10,000 RPG boats makes sense. The cost for making those boats plus rpg is probably a lot less fiscally speaking than a real world high tech cruiser. In reality however it'd be nothing short of suicide for the vast majority of the RPG boats - if not all of them.  :D

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #76 on: 08 January 2022, 10:14:01 »
Historically, most guerrilla wars/asymmetric warfare could only be successful because of the acceptance of very lopsided losses.
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phoenixalpha

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #77 on: 09 January 2022, 04:23:29 »
Historically, most guerrilla wars/asymmetric warfare could only be successful because of the acceptance of very lopsided losses.

Very true but when the options are to live under a regime that you view as oppressive and hostile to you and your way of life (correctly or incorrectly) - what option do you have really? Hence why asymmetric warfare tends to win on a strategic level.

Kovax

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #78 on: 10 January 2022, 11:39:22 »
If I might use a bit of metaphor here, its a bit like building a navy. You might be able to outfit 250 PT boats for the cost of a single battleship, but they'll be annihilated the second they come in contact with naval guns.
Not really.  All it takes is one or two PT boats to get within torpedo range, and they can potentially cripple or sink that Battleship.  The BB simply won't have enough guns to take out all of the PT boats in time before they get within range to spam enough torpedoes to sink the BB ten times over.  I'd give 10 PT boats reasonable odds against a Battleship.  Granted, the attrition rate on the PT boats WILL be high, but the loss of a BB's much larger crew will hurt too.

As for Clans like Spirit or HH versus Wolf fielding armor crews, Spirit or HH will have the SAME cream of the crop as Wolf, PLUS another 1500 slightly lower quality crew members.  Add to that the likelihood that those trainees who washed out earlier will have gotten a full course in armored vehicle operations while their sibko kin were getting more advanced 'Mech training, rather than only a quick last-minute program to switch the washouts from 'Mechs to vehicles like most of the Clans would inevitably do.  It's an integral part of their force structure, not a half-baked add-on to soak up the washouts.

Colt Ward

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #79 on: 10 January 2022, 12:20:12 »
Interesting, Some thoughts.   A bit of Devil's Advocate here.

1.  Do the Spirits have Actual Vee-Crew Sibkos?     Or.   Are they using failed Mechwarriors/Pilots just like every other clan.

2.  Does ANY clan actually have "Basic Training" for Vee-Crews or is it all just failed Pilots/Warriors?

3.  Same questions for Leg Infantry?

4.  I thought somewhere that the reason clan Vees (And Grunts) are worse than the IS is not actually because they don't favor those unit types anymore, its because ALL of them are just getting OJT  (On the Job Training).   Essentially, they just get sent to the unit & their squadmates that have been there longer teach them the ropes.

5.  If #1-4 are correct, and I think I read it somewhere, then that explains the Lower Skills across the board for the Clans in those units.
But, if that is the case for all clans, then it might actually be that the Spirits/Horses are actually LESS skilled crews than the other clans even in those areas.
Why?   Because they have to fill out more units of them.  If the Spirits have a Trinary for every cluster while the Wolves just have the rare couple Binaries attached to Garrisons & reserve units.  Then the competition for those lower # of slots would be higher.  The "Wolves" or any NON-Spirit/Horse clan would only be looking to fill out a smaller # of vehicle slots & as such can be more restrictive in who gets to keep their "warrior" role, even if a failed, back up, stuck in a tank, washed out of training, sort of "warrior" role.

6.  Not that the "Wolves" are better than the Spirits.  Just that if the Spirits need to fill 2000 slots & the "Wolves" need to fill 500.  Then the Wolf crews would be equal to the best 25% of the Spirit crews, while the remaining crews would be lower skills the further down the quality list you go.  In the end the Spirits would bring more #s to the fight than the Wolves.   Basically its like the IS v/s Clan skills issue only its clan v clan.   Those that field the largest #s have the largest spread on the skill spectrum.  Those that restrict the #s to a smaller # get to pick the very best of the best.  Only in the case of clan vees, its those that manage to learn quickly & not suck at the job.

Oh yeah, I meant to come back to this . . .

Bluntly, we just do not get much on this- heck, Clan MECH training is barely covered.  I mean we get Aiden and snips of Phelan, and that is about it.  So in order . .. 

1)  Vehicle sibkos . . . probably not sibkos in the mech/aero/BA sense, but rather training groups.  What happens to a cadet who washes out b/c of taking brain damage in training at the age of 12?  Or a aero pilot who has agoraphobia?  Not aggressive enough?  Any Clan sibko cadets who get washed out of their class could end up being dumped into vehicle & infantry training groups- after all, the police also have to get trained.  It would also be the dumping ground for IMO a LOT of freebirths as part of the culling of the kids who show aggressive/questioning/rebellious attitude from the general population but lack the ability for mech combat.  BUT . . . I would suggest their skills suck b/c the vehicle training barely gives them the basics while they function as dedicated training opposition to the mech/BA sibkos (Today sibbies, you will learn how to hunt fast vehicles.  The skills you learn leading and anticipating your target will carry directly over to fighting another mech.) . . . and if a tank crew does too well?  Oops, the mechwarrior did not stop firing when the tank was disabled!

2)  I would say yes, though our only perspective would be Alexander whateverbloodname in the Ghost Bears.  He failed his mech Trial of Position and underwent remedial armor training (like Bjorn when he failed as a mechwarrior) to undergo a armor Trial of Position.  He was not just thrown in a tank and told to go.  This implies they had some sort of training program to get skills to transfer.  The Crusader Wolves also plunked a lot of lower caste call ups into vehicles- I think the Ares has this in it's updated write up- to bolster their limited (when half the touman falls in a black hole . . . ) mech numbers.

6)  Goes back to the Spirits adherence to exactly what Nicky laid down.  Not talking about the civilians taking up arms, but that each cluster was built on the 3-1-1 model.  Which means they need crews for 30 vehicles, with crews averaging what- 5? people per vehicle?  It means the vehicle trinary will on average need more troops than the Elemental trinary!  This does not even get into Spirit secondline or garrison clusters that use infantry trinaries because they lack the suits to completely equip their whole touman.  No way the Spirits could be washing out that many from the main warrior types before the Trial of Position though perhaps a good portion would be test downs since the Spirits were isolationist they may not have had as much warrior turn over as other Clans.  Then again, they were preyed on by the Burrocks & Dark Caste for quite a while.
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CJC070

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #80 on: 10 January 2022, 16:55:57 »
Most heavies and mediums tanks require 2 or 3 to pilot a tank only certain assaults needed 5 men.  Some may have been modified to hold less depending on how many weapons on a tank.  Also consider they may have downgraded mech pilots to tanker crew if they survived past 35.  You can still die a warriors death and serve your clan.

Colt Ward

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #81 on: 10 January 2022, 17:09:32 »
Assaults like the Demolisher is 6 and the Mars is 7 . . .

I did cover test downs with the bit about the Spirits, but realize when 5 years is a generation that means most your touman turns over so you do not get many living long enough to be demoted.
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Col Toda

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #82 on: 13 January 2022, 04:56:50 »
One of the central themes in any miniatures game .

My solution is to have 12- 16 mechs and 8 combat vehicles in an attacking force . Combat vehicles tend to be attrition units that you use to spot and be exsposed while your expensive fusion powered mechs hammer at medium and long range . The trick is to striking a balance when in the offensive.  On the defensive the balance point is the opposite 12-16 disposable attrition units and 8 mechs .

I use combat vehicles to fill out the order of battle to increase absolute numbers the 2:3 ratios  has been the balance point that seemed to work for me .

Kovax

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #83 on: 13 January 2022, 11:17:13 »
As pointed out by another poster, anything below some skill level becomes useless as anything but a damage sponge and/or initiative sink.  It often pays to have a force of mixed quality, which allows for several units that can hit things reliably, and several cheaper things that can soak up incoming fire to preserve the higher quality units, but are still accurate enough to occasionally hit stuff on their own.

I often use light vehicles with my 'Mechs, either as fast harassers or for ranged fire support.  Race a Pegasus into someone's backfield, and it's a serious threat to any support vehicles they might have, or to backstab stuff on the battle line.  Cruise back and forth with a Saracen, providing LRM support on the cheap, while being next to impossible to hit, or use it to intercept something like a Saladin or other fast mover (3xSRM/2 gives you several chances to roll for hits and motive crits).  Park a Hunter behind cover and deliver LRMs in quantity for a fraction of the BV or cost of a 'Mech to do the same.

There are things a vehicle can do as well as a 'Mech, or better, for less BV and cost, and you only need "adequate" gunnery or piloting skills for some of it.  When you mix a bit of quality and a bit of quantity, it's possible to get the best of both worlds, but it's more dependent on player skill to put the right tool for the task in the right place at the right time.  Absent such skill, it's easier to just field quality units.

Suboptimal

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Re: The Old Argument: Quality vs Quantity
« Reply #84 on: 16 January 2022, 15:58:59 »
If I might use a bit of metaphor here, its a bit like building a navy. You might be able to outfit 250 PT boats for the cost of a single battleship, but they'll be annihilated the second they come in contact with naval guns.

I would definitely take 250 drone boats with a couple anti-ship missiles and a couple torpedoes each vs a battleship.

The major navies agreed with me when battleships were still in significant usage. To confirm this for yourself, ask the question: what exactly were destroyers originally supposed to be destroying?